According to the NSPCC, one in five children witness some kind of domestic abuse. While it is often debated that having both parents living in the same household is more beneficial to the child's development, in some unfortunate cases this is not the reality.  Children who witness domestic abuse suffer emotional problems even if the abuse is not directed at them. If you are experiencing domestic abuse and your children are witnessing this or hearing this from the next room, there are things that you can do to support your child come to terms with their situation. 

Communication 

It is important to keep the areas of communication open with your child. Try and talk to them about what is happening. Children are naturally trusting so it is important to be as honest as you can with them about what is going on. Remind them that the abuse happening is not their fault.  A child will take the responsibility for the abuse upon themselves, as do all victims, so it is very important to remind them of this.

Activities 

Spend time with them. When you are being abused, it is difficult to think about anything else or make anything else a priority. If it is safe to do so when your abuser isn't around, encourage activities that your child will enjoy. 

Encourage expression

Encourage your children to talk about their feelings. You can do this through play, or getting them to draw a picture or some kind of creative project that will help them to express themselves. 

Behaviours 

Change in behaviour such as withdrawal, aggression, tantrums, bed wetting and eating disorders are all signs that your child is suffering, as are physical symptoms such as colds and headaches. If you notice a change in your child's behaviour it is important to support him/her in the best way you can. Get in touch today about our Children and Families services.

Refer 

SAFE offers services which will help support children and their families. Take a look at our Children and Families services and our Helping Hands course. If you would like more information, email [email protected]

Other useful websites: 

www.nspcc.org.uk 

www.womensaid.org.uk 

www.refuge.org.uk 

www.domesticviolenceroundtable.org